Forget The Choreography, ‘Flash Robs’ Are The Newest Teen Trend
Those pesky teenagers and their social networking savvy. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that teens are using Facebook and Twitter to organize petty theft at local stores. They pile into the retailer, overturning displays and generally causing a ruckus and they make off with thousands of dollars in merchandise. The relatively new phenomenon has already began in Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland and Las Vegas.
The trend is thought to be an extension of other social media-inspired organizing, like light-hearted flash mobs and more serious political protests and rioting. Young people are proving to be especially adept at using these new resources to plan gathering and events. For law enforcement, this means that they need to learn new ways to monitor social media and pre-emptively stop the “flash phenoms” that have nothing to do with Lady Gaga songs.
Ironically, one of the few “flash rob” cases that has been solved wasn’t organized online. It was planned on a local city bus. A group of about 30 teens looted a 7-Eleven, though they were caught using security footage that they posted online.
So what can parents do to help keep their kids away from these shoplifting crews? Hopefully we’ve taught our kids to respect private property. It helps if they know that their consequences have answers. More than anything, we need to know what they’re doing online and who they’re talking to. Teenagers spend so much time plugged in, parents need to be communicating with them about what they’ll see out there. Instead of ignoring these trends and assuming that it’ll never be our child, we need to talk to them about what people are doing and why it’s wrong.
Some people blamed the London riots on lax parenting and wild youth. But there were a lot of amazing examples of adults turning their kids in and making them take responsibility for their actions. It’s just unfortunate that these parents had to make that heart-wrenching decision. Hopefully, if we discuss these types of mass gatherings before our kids get the invite, we won’t have to make our teens learn the hard way.
(Photo: The Inquirer)